Rachel’s Tomb

Rachel’s Tomb is a small domed structure marking the grave of Jacob’s favorite wife, who died giving birth to Benjamin and “was buried on the way to Ephrath, which Bethlehem”(Gen.35,19). Revered by Christians and Moslems as well as Jews, the tomb is and has been for generations, a place of Jewish pilgrimage, where throngs of pilgrims, particularly childless wives, come to pray to the youngest and loveliest of the Matriarchs.
Mentioned as early as 333 by the Bordeaux Pilgrim as being covered by a pyramid of stones, it was rebuilt by the Crusaders who protected the cenotaph by a domed roof supported on four columns. In 1788, the arches were blocked to form a closed chamber; then in 1841 Sir Moses Montefiore repaired the building and added a vestibule with a mihrab, or south pointing prayer niche, for Moslem worship.